web analytics

Information Directory

Reference Directory

Issues pertaining to radiation and radioactivity are not static. Regulations change, an item of concern at one facility raises issues of concern at others, public perceptions influence decision-making, and new discoveries are made all the time. Once each day, Plexus-NSD reviews its various sources of information so that we can keep ourselves and our clients constantly and continuously informed.

On a periodic basis, we summarize what we have found and post it at this web site in the "Regulatory Action", the "Press Pieces", and the "Upcoming Events" categories. In the "Plexus-NSD Announcements" section you can read about what our staff has been up to lately, including a description of some of our publications and products, copies of which we would be glad to send to you at no cost. In the "Plexus-NSD e-Newsletters" section is a listing of headlines from recent editions, as well as an invitation to subscribe to this free monthly publication. We encourage you to check back frequently so that you too can keep up on the ever-changing world of radiation and radioactivity.

News Menu

September 20, 2016 – No relevant citations.

read more

September 20, 2016 – Press Pieces

On September 20th, 2016, posted in: Latest News, Press Pieces

September 20, 2016 – Phoenix Business Journal – Potential $1 billion work to clean up Arizona’s dangerous Navajo uranium mines – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is starting what could be a $1 billion, years-along process to clean up abandoned uranium mines on Navajo Nation land in northern Arizona. There are more than 500 abandoned uranium minds on the sprawling Indian reservation that cuts across northeastern Arizona as well as parts of Utah and New Mexico. From 1944 to 1986, mining companies extracted more than 30 million tons of uranium from mines on Navajo land. The mining was fueled by the U.S. Cold War with the former Soviet Union and the super powers’s nuclear arms race.

September 20, 2016 – EINPresswire – Southern California Commercial UAV Company Teams Up With a Radiation Detection Company to Create a Groundbreaking UAV – You may have seen FlyCam UAV’s aerial production work, but the UAV company that’s known for its stunning cinematography recently partnered with US Nuclear Corp (OTCBB: UCLE) to create a new device that’s right out of the movies — and can save real lives. FlyCam UAV launched the Cypher 6, a commercial-grade hexacopter, and The NEO, an all-weather commercial co-axial octocopter. The platforms are designed for use with US Nuclear Corp’s DroneRad aerial radiation detection system. DroneRad detects particles that contain alpha, beta, gamma and neutron radiation. A gas collection option tests for the presence of chlorine, biological particulates, and aerosols such as anthrax and poison gases, making the FlyCam UAV/US Nuclear Corp UAV suitable for radiological, chemical and biological detection missions. Future upgrades to the DroneRad package will detect methane and diesel. The UAVs can be used to detect radiation leaks in nuclear power plants or flown into plumes of smoke from a burning building to give first responders immediate data about what kinds of hazards might be present. It can also be used for to monitor public events, seaports or geographic areas to detect possible dirty radiological bombs or the use of chemical and biological agents.

September 20, 2016 – Novinite.com – EU Audit Office to Unveil Report on Kozloduy N-Plant Funding – The European Court of Auditors is set to publish its report on the use of EU funding by Kozloduy Nuclear power plant (NPP) in northern Bulgaria. The document is to establish what progress Bulgaria has made in decommissioning the units and managing the radioactive waste. It will also contain a forecast about whether the funding disbursed will be sufficient.

September 20, 2016 – Independent Online – Nuclear corruption rumours dispelled – The Department of Energy released yesterday further details of the companies it had used, in a bid to thwart reports that a company belonging to businessman Vivian Reddy’s son was among the firms getting a slice of the mooted nuclear build programme. The department said Empire Technology, a company that is owned by Reddy’s son, Shantan, was one of several companies that it had used in the past five years. It issued two statements within 72 hours to assure the country of the integrity of the procurement process.

September 20, 2016 – Nanowerk – Single crystal measures radioactivity – A research team at Empa and ETH Zurich has developed single crystals made of lead halide perovskites, which are able to gage radioactive radiation with high precision. Initial experiments have shown that these crystals, which can be manufactured from aqueous solutions or low-priced solvents, work just as well as conventional cadmium telluride semi-conductors, which are considerably more complicated to produce. The discovery could slash the price of many radio-detectors – such as in scanners in the security sector, portable dosimeters in power stations and measuring devices in medical diagnostics. Gamma photons virtually always accompany the radioactive decay of unstable isotopes. In order to identify radioactive substances, cost-effective and highly sensitive gamma detectors that work at room temperature are thus in great demand.

September 20, 2016 – Talk of the Town – O’Dowd calls on Minister to seek talks on safety of Sellafield – Local TD Fergus O’Dowd has expressed his serious concerns about issues raised in the recent Panorama programme on Sellafield and has called on the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughton to seek discussions over the matter. The recent BBC programme highlighted safety concerns at the Cumbria facility, which is just across the Irish Sea from Co Louth. In a statement on the matter, the Fine Gael TD said: “I have called on the Minister of Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten to meet urgently with his UK counterpart to discuss the serious safety issues arising from the programme.

September 20, 2016 – eXchange – Food Scientists Using X-rays to Figure Out Fats – University of Guelph researchers studying the intimate structure of edible fats are getting help from the United States Department of Energy (DOE). The researchers hope to replace unhealthful trans and saturated fats with better non-saturated versions – all without compromising texture. That swap could have great implications for the food industry, says Maria Fernanda Peyronel-Svaikauskas, a research associate working with food scientist Prof. Alejandro Marangoni. To conduct their studies, Peyronel-Svaikauskas and the other U of G researchers use the DOE’s Advanced Photon Source (APS) at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois. X-rays generated at that facility enable scientists to study and characterize the structure of edible fats at meso and micro levels (hundreds of nanometres to a few micrometres in size).

September 20, 2016 – Business Standard – Another Chernobyl or Fukushima risk plausible – Catastrophic nuclear accidents like Chernobyl disaster in the US that took place in 1986 and the more recent Japan’s Fukushima disasters in 2011 may not be relics of the past. But the risk of such disasters are still more likely to occur once or twice per century, a study has warned. The study found that while nuclear accidents have substantially decreased in frequency, this has been accomplished by the suppression of moderate-to-large events. The researchers estimated that Fukushima and Chernobyl-scale disasters are still more likely than not once or twice per century, and that accidents like 1979 meltdown at Three Mile Island in the US are more likely than not to occur every 10-20 years.

September 20, 2016 – Caixin Online – China to Get Community Feedback on All Nuclear Projects – The Chinese government plans to issue new rules making it mandatory for developers of all nuclear projects to solicit public comments before selecting a construction site. The decision follows a string of protests that have derailed projects. Expert debates and public hearings about possible nuclear plants and radioactive waste-recycling centers are now required before developers finalize a site for development or submit plans for official approval, according to draft regulations published Monday by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the National Energy Administration. China’s atomic ambitions have grown in recent years as it plans to generate a fifth of its national energy supply using non-fossil fuels by 2030. The Chinese mainland has 36 operating nuclear reactors, and another 20 are under construction, the International Atomic Energy Agency said. Zheng Mingguang, a deputy general manager of State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. said earlier this month that another 30 reactors are in the planning stages and may be built within the next five years.

September 20, 2016 – Sputnik International – MEPhI Researchers Figure Out How to Improve Centrifuge Efficiency – Russia’s leadership in the global production of inexpensive enriched uranium for nuclear power plants is based on a technology that was developed in the mid-20th century. The modern gas centrifuge method for uranium enrichment requires no more than 2% of the energy consumed by the previously used diffusion method. At present, the cost of Russian uranium is dramatically lower than the equivalent US fuel. However, to stay ahead, we constantly need to improve the technology, the scientists note. The gas centrifuge method for uranium enrichment is based on the separation of uranium isotopes in strong centrifugal fields. It is important to determine the dependence of the optimal separation capacity of a centrifuge on the parameters of the centrifuge and the gas used. In other words, professionals need to understand how changing the parameters of the centrifuge – the rotor speed, length, diameter, etc. – will change the effectiveness of the isotopic mixture separation.

September 20, 2016 – The Japan Times – Japan’s Cabinet to hold meeting to decide fate of Monju reactor – The government said Tuesday it will hold a ministerial meeting on nuclear power the following day, with the fate of the trouble-plagued Monju fast-breeder reactor in focus. The meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening is expected to bring together officials from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, which oversees the currently shuttered reactor in Fukui Prefecture, with other ministries and related entities.

September 20, 2016 – Guam Daily Post – Navy discovers elevated radon levels on base – Military officials discovered elevated levels of radon during regular testing carried out as part of the Navy’s Radon Assessment and Mitigation Program (NAVRAMP). Lt. Tim Gorman, Joint Region Marianas public affairs officer, said the elevated levels were discovered in non-housing buildings across Naval Base Guam. “In November 2015 several buildings were tested, none of which resulted in elevated radon levels,” he said in an email to the Post. “During the period of July 18 to Aug. 15, 2016, 325 buildings were tested. Of those, 46 were above the Department of the Navy required-action levels for radon.”

September 20, 2016 – Medscape – New Guideline: No Single Formula for Postmastectomy RT – There is no one-size-fits-all formula for physicians to determine which patients with breast cancer are the best candidates for postmastectomy radiotherapy (PMRT), according to the authors of a new joint clinical practice guideline update. Instead, the new guideline will help clinicians make more informed decisions and move toward more individualized patient care, say expert panel members from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), and the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) who developed the update. The guideline report was published online September 19 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and Practical Radiation Oncology.

September 20, 2016 – WIZM 1410 AM – Genoa nuclear power plant heading into final stages of decommission – The future of the former nuclear power plant at Genoa is the topic for a meeting tonight in La Crosse. The plant, which shut down in 1987, is in its final stages of being decommissioned. At 6 p.m. tonight, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will discuss plans to terminate the license for the boiling water reactor. The project is expected to take about two years. The plant was operated by Dairyland Cooperative for 20 years near the Genoa Lock and Dam in Vernon County. The reactor itself was removed from Genoa nearly a decade ago, but spent nuclear fuel is still being stored on the site.

September 20, 2016 – Union of Concerned Scientists – NRC’s Nuclear Maintenance Rule – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) identified a disturbing trend in the mid-80s—the number of safety problems caused by inadequate maintenance was increasing. In some cases, ineffective practices during routine maintenance such as replacing worn-out gaskets or lubricating rotating machinery resulted in equipment that had been operating satisfactorily breaking down soon afterwards. For example, the NRC was receiving an increasing number of Licensee Event Reports (LERs) from plant owners about safety problems caused by inadequate maintenance. The NRC already had a regulation requiring owners to find and fix safety problems in a timely and effective manner, but the trends showed the regulation alone was not properly managing the risk.

September 20, 2016 – All Africa – South Africa: Energy Dept Urged to Elaborate On Nuclear Bid List – A list of consultants and firms that helped create the Department of Energy’s (DoE) nuclear strategy over the past five years leaves more questions than answers, according to the Democratic Alliance (DA). In a statement on Monday, the DoE revealed firms it had sourced or procured to “conduct thorough investigations on different aspects of the nuclear new build programme before a procurement decision is taken”. It said the National Development Plan (NDP) said South Africa needed a thorough investigation on the implications of nuclear energy, including its costs, financing options, institutional arrangements, safety, environmental costs and benefits, localisation and employment opportunities, and uranium enrichment and fuel fabrication possibilities.

September 20, 2016 – Belarus News – Belarus prepares seventh national report on nuclear safety convention fulfillment – The seventh national report on fulfilling the Convention on Nuclear Safety has been prepared in Belarus, BelTA learned from representatives of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry. According to the source, the document was put together by the Nuclear and Radiation Safety Department of the Belarusian Emergencies Ministry (Gosatomnadzor) in association with interested government agencies. In accordance with international commitments the report has been forwarded to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The document is also available to the general public on the Gosatomnadzor website in the section Knowledge for Everyone.

September 20, 2016 – The Ecologist – WIPP nuclear waste accident will cost US taxpayers $2 billion – The clean-up after the February 2014 explosion at the world’s only deep underground repository for nuclear waste in New Mexico, USA, is massively over budget, writes Jim Green – and full operations won’t resume until at least 2021. The fundamental cause of the problems: high level radioactive waste, poor regulation, rigid deadlines and corporate profit make a dangerous mix. The facility was never designed to operate in a contaminated state. It was supposed to open clean and stay clean, but now it will have to operate dirty. Nobody at the Energy Department wants to consider the potential that it isn’t fixable. An analysis by the Los Angeles Times finds that costs associated with the February 2014 explosion at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) could total US$2 billion. The direct cost of the clean-up is now estimated at US$640 million, based on a contract modification made in July with contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership.

September 20, 2016 – EurActiv.com – EU’s ex-Soviet nuclear reactors’ decommissioning over-budget and behind schedule – A slew of USSR-era nuclear reactors within the EU are years behind schedule in decommissioning and still require billions in funding, a damning Court of Auditors report found today. Eight reactors across sites in three countries – Lithuania, Bulgaria and Slovenia – were originally promised to be decommissioned as part of those countries’ EU accession process. Yet all still have funding gaps, and long-term storage solutions are still at a “conceptual” stage and decades away from being built or ready, the report finds. In an uncharacteristically strongly-worded report from the auditors, chief author Phil Wynn Owen said, “I am concerned that key decommissioning projects have suffered delays, that financing gaps remain, and that insufficient progress is being made towards final disposal of high-level waste.”

September 20, 2016 – Environmental Leader – Great Britain Gives the Go-Ahead to Build First Nuclear Plant in Twenty Years – Before the vote to exit the European Union, Great Britain had considered nuclear power its silver bullet — the one to help it reduce its carbon emissions while also keeping the lights on. But all that almost changed after the so-called Brexit vote — when the newly sworn in Prime Minister Teresa May hesitated, saying that she feared it would give the Chinese too much control over the nation’s electricity supply. Last week, though, Prime Minister May went ahead with the deal that Former Prime Minister David Cameron had started: Hinkley Point C, which will cost an estimated $24 million. The Chinese will invest about a third of the money while the largely stated-owned Electricite de France will build it.

September 20, 2016 – Yale Environment 360 – In Fukushima, A Bitter Legacy – Japan’s Highway 114 may not be the most famous road in the world. It doesn’t have the cachet of Route 66 or the Pan-American Highway. But it does have one claim to fame. It passes through what for the past five years has been one of the most radioactive landscapes on the planet – heading southeast from the Japanese city of Fukushima to the stricken nuclear power plant, Fukushima Daiichi, through the forested mountains where much of the fallout from the meltdown at the plant in March 2011 fell to earth. It is a largely empty highway now, winding through abandoned villages and past overgrown rice paddy fields. For two days in August, I traveled its length to assess the aftermath of the nuclear disaster in the company of Baba Isao, an assemblyman who represents the town of Namie, located just three miles from the power plant and one of four major towns that remain evacuated. At times, the radiation levels seemed scarily high – still too high for permanent occupation. But radiation was just the start. As we climbed into the mountains, the radiation measurements on the Geiger counter increased. More worrying, I discovered, was the psychological and political fallout from the accident. While the radiation – most of it now from caesium-137, a radioactive isotope with a half-life of 30 years – is decaying, dispersing, or being cleaned up, it is far from clear that this wider trauma has yet peaked. Fukushima is going to be in rehab for decades.

September 20, 2016 – Buffalo News – Tainted soil due for burial at RiverBend – Soil and slag with low levels of radioactive material – a remnant of the steel-making process that once took place at RiverBend in South Buffalo – would be buried underneath a foot of clean soil at two locations on the property where workers are finishing the SolarCity solar panel factory. About 50,000 cubic yards of the contaminated soil – enough to fill nearly seven blimps – would be buried on 10 to 15 acres of the 90-acre site, according to a plan from the state’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. A smaller amount – not quite enough to fill a blimp – would be taken to a hazardous-waste landfill in Ohio. The level of radiation detected at the site about a year ago does not pose a threat to human health, officials said.

September 20, 2016 – BDLive – Where will SA put lethal nuclear waste? – ENERGY Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s announcement that the procurement of 9.6GW of nuclear power will begin at the end of September demonstrates the government’s commitment to its nuclear plans despite opposition. The opposition has almost exclusively focused on the potential financial costs of the procurement as they relate to the build of nuclear plants, and on the relative costs of electricity produced by nuclear power compared to other forms of generation. Surprisingly little has been said about the substantial additional costs of managing the radioactive waste that will be produced by new nuclear plants.

September 20, 2016 – Water Online – EPA’s Nuclear Emergency Drinking Water Guidelines Take Heat – The U.S. EPA has proposed a rule that could allow the public to temporarily drink water containing radioactive contamination in the case of a nuclear emergency and it isn’t sitting well with some. The Wall Street Journal reported that the EPA “thinks it would be acceptable for the public to temporarily drink water containing radioactive contamination at up to thousands of times normal federal safety limits.”

September 20, 2016 – Bradenton Herald – Mosaic starts to test wells at request of homeowners – Mosaic started to test wells at the request of homeowners after a sinkhole at the Mulberry plant leaked slightly radioactive water into the ground. James Maxwell, a resident near the plant, called Mosaic to have the company test his well for free. “I’m 75,” Maxwell said. “I’ve lived my life, but I’ve got grandchildren. And I worry about what this (will) do to them.” Almost 30 other residents also opted to have Mosaic test their wells by a third party. The company is looking for sodium, sulfate, fluoride and radioactivity. Mosaic executives said no contaminated water made its way from the plant to private wells, but Maxwell said he doesn’t buy it.

September 20, 2016 – Center for Public Integrity – Proposed export of enriched uranium runs counter to U.S. commitment, critics say – The Obama administration won praise for promising in 2012 to curtail the use of bomb-grade uranium in the production of medical diagnostic tools. But now the U.S. Energy Department is getting brickbats for proposing to send such materials to several European nations, including Belgium, where a shaky nuclear program has in recent years been plagued by sabotage, radicalization and terrorist surveillance. It’s not the first time that the administration has been accused of failing to fulfill one of its nuclear weapons-related commitments. In this case, in 2012, the United States, Belgium, France and the Netherlands declared at a summit meeting in South Korea that they would begin phasing out the use of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) for making medical isotopes, with the understanding that by a 2015 deadline, the material would be replaced with less concentrated uranium that could not be used by terrorists to construct a nuclear weapon.

September 20, 2016 – National Geographic – Can Reusing Spent Nuclear Fuel Solve Our Energy Problems? – Nuclear power, always controversial, has been under an especially dark cloud since Japan’s Fukushima disaster five years ago. And in the United States, few new nuclear plants have been ordered since the 1979 partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, thanks to ongoing safety concerns, high capital costs, and the availability of lower-cost energy sources. But nuclear engineer Leslie Dewan believes that a safe, environmentally friendly, next-generation nuclear reactor isn’t just feasible—it’s commercially viable. As cofounder and CEO of Boston-based startup Transatomic Power, Dewan and fellow Massachusetts Institute of Technology grad Mark Massie are working on commercial-scale development of a molten salt reactor first prototyped in the 1960s at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “We’ve changed the design to make it more compact, power dense, and able to run on spent nuclear fuel,’’ says the 31-year-old Dewan, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer whose energy and hip style belies the public image of a nuclear scientist as a lab-coated, pocket protector–wearing middle-aged man.

September 20, 2016 – Johnstown Tribune-Democrat – Plans to truck nuclear waste on the interstate sounding alarms – Government plans to truck nuclear waste along the interstate in western Pennsylvania and five other states is akin to allowing a series of potential “mobile Chernobyls on steroids,” said Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste watchdog for the group Beyond Nuclear. Environmentalists are sounding alarms about the possible consequences, especially if a truck crashes, catches fire and causes the waste to escape its container. Kamps likened the possibility to the 1986 disaster in the Ukraine that killed 30 people, injured hundreds more and contaminated huge swaths of land. Beyond Nuclear and five other groups are suing the Department of Energy, hoping to halt the shipments until the government can study their impact.

September 20, 2016 – Charlotte Business Journal – As major power players queue up to extend nuclear plant licenses, Charlotte’s Duke Energy mulls the same – Dominion Resources’ Surry Nuclear Power Station or Exelon Corp.’s Peach Bottom Atomic Power Plant are poised to test the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s willingness to extend licensing for nuclear plants to 80 years. The reactors at both plants were built in the early 1970s. Their current licenses are set to expire in 2032 to 2034. Both companies have announced plans to ask the commission to extend license for 20 years beyond that.

September 20, 2016 – UPI – Sinkhole opens, drops radioactive water into Florida aquifer – A massive sinkhole has opened at a fertilizer plant in Florida, dropping millions of gallons of radioactive water into the Florida aquifer, threatening drinking water and recreational areas nearby. About 215 million gallons of radioactive water have spilled in to the sinkhole in Mulberry, which fertilizer company Mosaic said is about 45-feet wide and 800-feet deep. The aquifer is the source of drinking water for millions of local residents and empties into springs that Floridians use for recreation, WFTS reports.

September 20, 2016 – Denver Business Journal – Lawyers looking for Rocky Flats neighbors to share in $375M settlement – Lawyers are looking for homeowners near the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in the Standley Lake area to share in a $375 million class-action settlement. Earlier this year, a 26-year lawsuit filed by Rocky Flats neighbors was finally settled for $375 million. ​Lawyers are looking for homeowners near the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in the Standley Lake area to share in a $375 million class-action settlement. Now, lawyers are looking for homeowners who owned property in the area on June 7, 1989. Up to 15,000 Rocky Flats neighbors may be eligible for settlement money in the suit, filed against the plant’s operators, Rockwell International Corp. and Dow Chemical Co., for devaluing the neighbors’ property values. “Did you own property near and downwind from the former Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant in Denver, Colorado on June 7, 1989? Are you an heir of someone who did? Are you the successor of an entity that did? If so, you could get money from a proposed $375 million class action settlement,” lawyers asked today in a statement.

September 20, 2016 – Mint Press News – Following Decades Of High Cancer Rates & Birth Defects, EPA Begins Cleanup Of Uranium Mines On Navajo Reservation – A cleanup effort funded by a $1 billion bankruptcy settlement is underway to reverse the devastating effects of uranium mine pollution on the Navajo Nation. Hundreds of abandoned mines are scattered across their territory in Arizona and New Mexico, and on Aug. 31 the Environmental Protection Agency issued a request for bids, offering $85 million to environmental assessment firms that can document the damage and determine where best to focus resources. “EPA’s contract is a vital step in the effort to clean up the legacy of uranium contamination in and around the Navajo Nation,” said Enrique Manzanilla, director of the EPA Superfund in the Pacific Southwest, in a press release.

read more

September 19, 2016 – 81 FR 64209-64211 – NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION – Environmental Properties Management; Cimarron Facility; Decommissioning Plan – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has received a license amendment application from Environmental Properties Management (EPM or the licensee) for the Cimarron Facility, located near Crescent, Oklahoma. The licensee is requesting an amendment to its Source and Byproduct Materials License SNM-928 to authorize decommissioning of the Cimarron Facility for unrestricted release.

September 19, 2016 – 81 FR 64212-64215 – NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION – Tennessee Valley Authority; Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2 – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an exemption in response to a March 10, 2016, request, as supplemented by letter dated June 24, 2016, from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA or the licensee). The exemption permits a one-time reallocation of surplus funds from the nuclear decommissioning trust funds (DTFs) for the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant (SQN), Units 1 and 2, to the DTFs for the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant (BFN), Units 1, 2, and 3, and the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant (WBN), Units 1 and 2.

September 19, 2016 – 81 FR 64207-64209 – NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION – Issuance of Updates to NUREG-1556 (Consolidated Guidance About Materials Licenses), Volumes 1 (Portable Gauges), 2 (Industrial Radiography), 3 (Sealed Sources and Devices), 4 (Fixed Gauges), 10 (Master Material Licenses), 15 (Changes of Control and Bankruptcy), and 19 (Reciprocity) – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued Revision 2 to NUREG-1556, Volumes 1 and 3 and Revision 1 to NUREG-1556, Volumes 2, 4, 10, 15, and 19, revising licensing guidance for various materials licenses. These documents have been updated to include information on updated regulatory requirements, safety culture, security of radioactive materials, protection of sensitive information, and changes in regulatory policies and practices. The documents are intended for use by applicants, licensees, and the NRC staff.

read more

September 19, 2016 – Press Pieces

On September 19th, 2016, posted in: Latest News, Press Pieces

September 19, 2016 – Washington Examiner – House panels investigate claims of Energy Dept. stifling science – A House committee this week will question if the Department of Energy fired a biologist for promoting her program to Congress against agency wishes. Two House Science, Space and Technology subcommittees will hold a hearing Wednesday titled “Examining Misconduct and Intimidation of Scientists by Senior Department of Energy Officials.” The hearing will examine claims that a scientist in the department was fired after briefing Congress about the Low Dose Radiation Research Program, which was being discussed as a part of House legislation. According to a February letter sent to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, a senior radiation biologist briefed the committee on the program in October 2014. Shortly thereafter, she was terminated. Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, wrote in the letter that he believed it was because of the briefing.

September 19, 2016 – The Hankyoreh – After Gyeongju earthquake, stress tests for nuclear power plants moved up one year – A recent earthquake in Gyeongju has prompted the South Korean government to move up planned stress tests for all nuclear power plants by one year and bolster their earthquake resistance. But no measures have yet been suggested for reducing or closing plants built in earthquake-vulnerable regions like Gyeongju. The decision by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy to further bolster the “extreme natural disaster countermeasures” pursed in the wake of the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant came at an earthquake follow-up measures review meeting presided over by the minister on Sept. 18 at the Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) southern Seoul headquarters in Seoul’s Yeouido neighborhood. As a first step, stress testing of nuclear power generation facilities is to be completed by late 2018. The project had an original completion date planned for late 2019, but was moved up one year in response to growing concerns about power plant safety. First introduced in the European Union after the Fukushima disaster, stress testing involves assessing the soundness of nuclear power plants against natural disasters and other outside influences.

September 19, 2016 – EDN Europe – Chip-scale atomic clocks extend temperature ranges – With full operating and storage temperature, these Microsemi devices are aimed at high-reliability applications in defence, underwater geophysical survey and scientific markets. The thermally improved Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC) components offer the lowest power holdover atomic clock technology without compromising size, weight and power (SWaP) while operating at a wide temperature range. With an operating temperature range of -10 to 70C the components feature improved product design, process enhancements and robust product verification/validation. Their technology enables new applications and missions not possible in the past with traditional OCXO and Rubidium clocks, offering the lowest SWaP clock technology at 17 cm ³ in size, 35g weight and 120 mW power. Microsemi’s CSAC product offers ±5.0E-11 accuracy at shipment and a typical ≤ 9.0E-10/month ageing rate, which makes it suitable for many low power atomic clock holdover applications.

September 19, 2016 – Physicsworld.com – Flash Physics: TRIUMF licenses isotope-production technology, Marsquakes may help to sustain microbial life, PandaX-II spots no dark matter – A consortium of Canadian research institutes including the TRIUMF accelerator lab in Vancouver has granted ARTMS Products a licence to use its proprietary technology to produce the medical-isotope technetium-99m using medical cyclotrons. These cyclotrons can be found in many large hospitals and the move is part of a Canadian effort to produce the isotope without the need for a nuclear reactor. This is necessary because the NRU reactor at Chalk River, Ontario – which currently supplies all of the technetium-99m used in Canada and the US – will stop making technetium-99m at the end of October. ARTMS is based in Canada and run by Paul Schaffer, who also heads up the life-science research division at TRIUMF. The technique involves firing a proton beam at a special target and then rapidly extracting the short-lived technetium-99m.

September 19, 2016 – Mirror.co.uk – Radioactive water leaks from 45ft sinkhole – with enough liquid to fill 300 Olympic swimming pools – Radioactive water – enough to fill 300 Olympic swimming pools – is leaking from a 45ft sinkhole that has opened up in Florida. The hole, spanning 45 feet (13.7m) in diameter, opened at a Mosaic Co phosphate fertiliser facility leaking 215 million gallons of “slightly radioactive water,” a company spokesman said. Mosaic said the monitoring system at its New Wales facility at Mulberry, Florida, showed a decline in water levels on August 27 from the retention pond of a phosphogypsum stack, a hill of hazardous waste. Phosphogypsum is a radioactive byproduct resulting from the production of phosphate.

September 19, 2016 – Focus Taiwan News – Taiwan Photon Source opened – President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) attended the inauguration of Taiwan Photon Source (TPS) and its multidisciplinary experimental facilities at the National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC) in Hsinchu on Monday. While visiting the facility, which had been under construction for more than six years, Tsai expressed the hope of seeing more Taiwanese researchers conduct advanced research as did Nobel laureate Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲), who accompanied her at the ceremony.

September 19, 2016 – StreetInsider.com – ViewRay’s (VRAY) MRIdian Linac Receives CE Mark – ViewRay, Inc. (Nasdaq: VRAY) announced that the company has received CE Mark approval for its next generation linear accelerator-based MRI-guided radiation therapy system, the MRIdian Linac. The MRIdian Linac builds on the first generation MRIdian system, but replaces cobalt with linear accelerator technology. The MRIdian is the world’s first and only clinical MRI-guided radiation therapy system.

September 19, 2016 – CRIEnglish.com – China to build 60 nuclear power plants in upcoming 10 years – China plans to build more than 60 nuclear power plants over the next 10 years. The country’s three major nuclear companies—State Nuclear Power Technology Corporation (SNPTC), China National Nuclear Corporation, and China General Nuclear Power Corporation will each build at least two nuclear power plants annually. SNPTC vice president Zheng Guangming made the announcement at the World Nuclear Association Symposium in London. Among the 60 plants, Zheng said six to ten will use Chinese-developed CAP1400 technology.

September 19, 2016 – Creamer Media – DoE insists ‘compliant’ nuclear management system contract part of procurement preparations – South Africa’s Department of Energy (DoE) has listed the names of several expert advisers whose services it has used over the past five years in relation to the country’s controversial nuclear procurement programme. However, the value of the various contracts was not immediately provided. The list was released on Monday in response to media articles suggesting that individuals with strong ties to President Jacob Zuma were the beneficiaries of the first major nuclear-related contract awarded by the department. The Mail & Guardian reported that a company trading as Empire Technology was awarded a R171-million contract for the procurement of the nuclear build programme management system. It noted that the company’s sole director is Shantan Reddy, the son of a long-time Zuma associate Vivian Reddy.

September 19, 2016 – WMGT 41 – Shaky Nuclear Program Could Get U.S. Bomb-Grade Uranium – The Obama administration won praise for promising in 2012 to curtail the use of bomb-grade uranium in the production of medical diagnostic tools. But now the U.S. Energy Department is getting brickbats for proposing to send such materials to several European nations, including Belgium, where a shaky nuclear program has in recent years been plagued by sabotage, radicalization and terrorist surveillance. It’s not the first time that the administration has been accused of failing to fulfill one of its nuclear weapons-related commitments. In this case, in 2012, the United States, Belgium, France and the Netherlands declared at a summit meeting in South Korea that they would begin phasing out the use of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) for making medical isotopes, with the understanding that by a 2015 deadline, the material would be replaced with less concentrated uranium that could not be used by terrorists to construct a nuclear weapon.

September 19, 2016 – Bellona – “Academian Lomonosov”: Mooring trials now being conducted – Mooring trials have started for the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. The trials are planned to be finished by the 30th of October next year, after which the floating NPP will be undocked and ready for transport. Loading of nuclear fuel will commence in the first quarter of 2017, according to the news agency RIA Novosti. The prototype, “Academian Lomonosov”, will be sent to the harbor-city of Pevek from the Baltic shipyard in St. Petersburg. The route will take it from the Baltic Sea, along the Norwegian coast, through the Barents Sea and further along the Northeast Passage to the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. The floating NPP will secure the energy needs of the region, replacing the Bilibino NPP, which is projected to close in 2019.

September 19, 2016 – GovConWire – General Dynamics Electric Boat Lands $330M Nuclear Submarine Contract Option – General Dynamics‘ (NYSE: GD) Electric Boat subsidiary has secured a $329.6 million contract modification to perform design, planning yard, engineering and technical support work on active nuclear submarines for the U.S. Navy. The service branch obligated $284,038 from its fiscal 2016 “other” procurement funds at the time of award of the modification, the Defense Department said Friday. Seventy-three percent of the work will take place in Groton, Connecticut and the rest will occur at various locations in Washington, Virginia, Rhode Island, Georgia and Hawaii.

September 19, 2016 – BBC News – Radioactive material flown from Scotland to US – Radioactive material that was being kept at the Scottish nuclear power site Dounreay has been flown to the US. Saturday’s flight was the first movement of material held at the Caithness plant to the US since an announcement in February. David Cameron, who was prime minister at the time, said the UK and US governments had agreed to an exchange of nuclear materials. He said the UK would receive a type of uranium used to diagnose cancer. But Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Maree Todd has criticised the weekend’s flight and the level of secrecy surrounding the handling of nuclear material at Dounreay. She said there should not be a need for an exchange of nuclear material, and the UK should be able to purchase what it requires for medical diagnoses.

September 19, 2016 – Arka News Agency – Armenian nuclear power plant to be halted for planned repair – Armenia’s Nuclear Power Plant in Metsamor will be halted on September 20 midnight for the scheduled annual repair and refueling, a statement on the official website of the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources said. The ministry said the halt will be used also for the major repair of the operating unit ‘with the aim of extending its service life period.’ Due to this the halt period this year will be longer than usual, the ministry said adding that the facility will be reconnected to the power grid on November 20th. The ministry noted that the planned halt of the nuclear power plant will not affect the electricity tariffs in the country.

September 19, 2016 – East Anglian Daily Times – Lib Dems give thumbs down to new nuclear power station deal which could pave the way for Sizewell – Grassroots, who vote for party policy at their conference each year, agreed the deal to build Hinkley Point – which was given the green light by Theresa May last week – was poor value for money. This was despite a plea not to rule it out from the senior Liberal Democrat and former energy minister Ed Davey who negotiated the original deal. He told activists they should not be dismissing any sources of low-carbon energy, adding: “We should not be taking nuclear off the table because of the risks posed to our children and their children by climate change.”

September 19, 2016 – Charlotte Business Journal – As major power players queue up to extend nuclear plant licenses, Charlotte’s Duke Energy mulls the same – Dominion Resources’ Surry Nuclear Power Station or Exelon Corp.’s Peach Bottom Atomic Power Plant are poised to test the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s willingness to extend licensing for nuclear plants to 80 years. The reactors at both plants were built in the early 1970s. Their current licenses are set to expire in 2032 to 2034. Both companies have announced plans to ask the commission to extend license for 20 years beyond that.

September 19, 2016 – Daily Energy Insider – License termination plan and partial site release requested for La Crosse nuclear power plant – The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a request for comment on Wednesday in relation to the La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor nuclear power plant’s request for a partial site release and license termination plan. The license termination plan revealed current site radiological information, future plans for demolition and decommissioning tasks. It also included plans for final radiological surveys and data required to permit termination of the plant’s NRC license. The partial site release requested that “unrestricted use” designation be granted for all areas within the La Crosse site that have are not affected by nuclear reactor operations. If granted, the areas would be removed from the plant’s licensed area.

September 19, 2016 – UT Tennessee Today – UT Student Spent Summer Conducting Tests at Nuclear Sites in Pacific – Nashville native Adam Stratz got to experience what might be considered an ideal summer vacation just before the start of the fall semester, spending eighteen days in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. But for Stratz, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, his mission was anything but vacation. Stratz was the lone student taking part in the recent radiation survey of former United States atomic and thermonuclear test sites in the islands on a team led by Terry Hamilton, scientific director of the Marshall Islands Program at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

September 19, 2016 – WTVC 9 – Delays expected for Watts Bar reactor replacement – The process of bringing TVA’s newest nuclear reactor to generate power has been dealt a setback. A transformer now has to be replaced in the switch yard at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant after a fire two weeks ago. A TVA spokesperson says that transformer served the Unit 2 reactor, which has been undergoing testing to get it ready for full power operation. Since the fire, Unit 2 is not producing any power, and will not until the transformer is replaced.

September 19, 2016 – WPSD 6 – Paducah leaders urge DOE for 10-year cleanup contract – The gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah played an important role for more than 60 years from fighting the cold war to enriching uranium. Now, the focus is on cleaning up the site. There are more than 1,200 employees currently doing the decontamination and decommissioning. That number could increase for the next cleanup contract cycle, which our leaders hope to be for a longer term. But it’s also a wish for business owners who rely on the workforce to keep them open. Business has not always been as usual for Kenny Forthman. When word of plant layoffs reached his grocery store, he wasn’t sure what to expect.

September 19, 2016 – St. Louis Post-Dispatch – Korte Co. constructing support building at uranium processing facility – Korte Co. has begun construction of a $19.5 million design-build project at the Uranium Processing Facility planned at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The project includes the design and construction of a three-story Construction Support Building for the facility. The 64,000-square-foot building will include offices and meeting rooms as well as warehouse space. The building is expected to be completed next summer.

September 19, 2016 – Santa Fe New Mexican – New report details scope of LANL cleanup: 20 years, $4B – A new draft report detailing the federal government’s plans to clean up decades-old hazardous waste from nuclear weapons production during the World War II-era Manhattan Project and the Cold War says Los Alamos National Laboratory and neighboring areas won’t be free from the legacy waste for more than 20 years, and the project’s costs could reach nearly $4 billion.
The August report by the lab’s Environmental Management Office, released publicly this week, provides the clearest picture the public has seen of the scope of work left to rid the lab and surrounding canyons of radioactive waste and environmental contamination. It lists 955 sites that could contain contamination and says 5,000 cubic meters of legacy waste remain at the lab — half the total that workers began cleaning up 25 years ago.

September 19, 2016 – Pacific Coast Business Times – Mayors urge CPUC to deny PG&E proposal to close Diablo Canyon – A group of mayors from six San Luis Obispo County cities asked the California Public Utilities Commission to deny a proposal to close the Diablo Canyon Power Plant because the proposal does not fully outline steps to be taken to mitigate effects of the closure. In a request filed with the utilities commission on Sept. 15, mayors from San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Paso Robles, Atascadero, Morro Bay and Arroyo Grande said Pacific Gas and Electric did not adequately outline the economic effects the plant’s closure will have on their communities in its proposal to close the plant. The request also asks for an independent third party to analyze the effects of the plant’s closure and for PG&E to disclose its long term plans for handling nuclear waste and spent fuel rods at the site.

read more

September 15, 2016 – 81 FR 63503-63504 – NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION – In the Matter of Duke Energy Florida, Inc., and Seminole Electric Cooperative, Inc., Crystal River Unit 3 Nuclear Generating Plant – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an order approving the direct transfer of the 1.6994 percent of Crystal River Unit 3 Nuclear Generating Plant (CR-3) currently owned by Seminole Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SEC), to Duke Energy Florida, Inc. (DEF). The NRC is also amending the facility-operating license for administrative purposes to reflect the license transfer of the 1.6994 percent ownership from SEC to DEF. The NRC confirmed that the transfer of the license is otherwise consistent with the applicable provisions of law, regulations, and orders issued by the Commission. The order approving the transfer of the 1.6994 percent of CR-3 currently owned by SEC, to DEF became effective on August 10, 2016.

September 15, 2016 – 81 FR 63500-63503 – NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION – James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant; Consideration of Approval of Transfer of License and Conforming Amendment – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) received and is considering approval of an application filed by Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. (ENO), and Exelon Generation Company, LLC (Exelon) on August 18, 2016. The application seeks NRC approval of the direct transfer of DPR-59 and SFGL-12 for James A. FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant (FitzPatrick), from the current holder, ENO, to Exelon. The NRC is also considering amending the renewed facility operating license for administrative purposes to reflect the proposed transfer.

read more